Good Governance in Africa
By Allan Savory
Zimbabwe is in trouble having repeated the pattern of other post-independence African states. But consider this: The great castles of Britain were built only after the end of Roman colonization, when English war lords battled for supremacy, and kings murdered brothers, wives and others over the centuries to achieve the same end. Only painfully and slowly did the British people bridge the gap between tyrannical leaders and democratic
ones to enjoy the democratic freedoms they and millions of immigrants from former colonies enjoy today. In Africa we are trying to bridge this gap in a few decades, and at a time when flaws in Western democracies are leading increasingly to environmental degradation that few would associate with their political systems. And yet they are closely linked.
Until all people feel free, secure and well governed none are. Poor land leads
inevitably to poor people, poverty, violence, political instability and genocide. These two beliefs have dominated my adult life as a fourth-generation African scientist born in Zimbabwe. Such beliefs led me into political life briefly and then into exile. While the connection between the health of the land and political, social and economic stability was for years denied by most nations, it is now increasingly acknowledged. For Africa it is
important to acknowledge that the health, stability and productivity of our land is as fundamental to stable government as is social justice.
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